In an inspiring speech delivered to delegates to the CEA Representative Assembly (RA) this weekend, CEA President Sheila Cohen highlighted the need for the Association to help members connect the disconnect between their potential misconceptions about the union and the realities of the union’s mission, values, and accomplishments.
Cohen said that CEA leaders regularly engage in dialogue with members and that CEA conducts polls and focus groups to ensure the Association is meeting members’ needs.
“We connect the disconnect when we take ownership that requires us to believe in the possibility that we are able to create a better future for our affiliates, our communities, our members, and our students,” Cohen said.
According to Cohen, CEA members need to acknowledge the union’s possibility. “We need to allow ourselves to be pulled by a new conversation for living in the future, for problem solving, and for making improvements upon the past.”
Cohen continued, “Through personal experience and collective action, membership matters. Through comprehensive CEA staff and resources that the union provides to local affiliates, we make a difference. Our union backs our teaching friends and colleagues. Our union supports members when somebody says, ‘This isn’t right.’ Indeed we are stronger together.”
She concluded by reminding CEA RA delegates that “without organized labor and organized professionals the middle class will disappear. In order for CEA to grow, we must grow stronger together.”
Watch video of Cohen’s speech below.
Delegates take action on new business items
Delegates discussed and adopted several resolutions as well as revisions and amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws to clarify, correct, and update language regarding membership and term limits. They also passed 10 new business items.
New business items adopted
- CEA will use our collective voice to acknowledge and address institutional racism by demanding changes to policies, programs, and practices that condone or ignore unequal treatment and hinder student success.
- The work and charges of the New Teacher Ad Hoc Committee will be consolidated into the Membership Training Committee’s work and charges.
- The Ad Hoc Committee on Poverty will be consolidated into the work and charges of the Human & Civil Rights Committee.
- Next year’s Human & Civil Rights Committee charges will include a focus on the school to prison pipeline.
- The Human & Civil Rights Committee will research successful programs and best practices to diminish the negative impact poverty has on student learning and work with other CEA commissions to advocate for policies and action to restore opportunities to students in poor communities.
- CEA will join with other organizations, including those in the labor movement, to ensure that the issue of climate change is addressed to protect members and future generations.
- The CEA Elections Committee will investigate the feasibility of online voting for certain CEA, NEA, and CEA-Retired elections.
- CEA elected and successor delegates to the CEA RA will be allowed to attend pre RA educational programs.
- CEA will investigate the possibility of allowing packets of information for the RA to be emailed prior to the RA and allow opt-out options in order to save money on printing and postage.
- CEA will continue a campaign and be proactive in organizing and engaging members to remain active and informed regarding Association issues.